FlashForward comes to DVD

Thursday, 14 October 2010 09:47

‘High concept’ series these days normally have an element of mystery within their format. With FlashForward, out now on DVD, the premise was simple: what if the whole planet blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, and everyone had a vision of what they would be doing six months from now? Amongst our number were also people who had no visions, which suggested they weren’t going to be around at that point.

Extraordinary fiction always has the problem that people try to pigeonhole a show – with no natural predecessors for comparison, the critics labelled it the new Lost – a bit daft as apart from jumps around in time there’s very little comparable DNA within the two series. The problem the show had was that this was a big mystery, requiring a huge canvas, and needed the audience to pay attention. Unfortunately, as no doubt Channel 4’s new import The Event will also discover, patience is not something the viewing public has these days.

Flash Forward - Enjoy the whole event on DVDABC Studios were sold on the format, which was adapted from the book by Robert J Sawyer, who serves as an Executive Producer on the TV version. In the original story the FlashForward event was twenty years into the future rather than six months – certainly this change of dynamic made the resolution more urgent and looming for everyone on the planet.

Those in charge of the television adaption were Trekster Brannon Braga (who has carried out Executive Producer chores on the likes of Threshold and 24), and David S Goyer (also Executive Producer on Sleepwalkers, Threshold and Blade: The Series). The pilot gained excellent ratings, but this wasn’t a show that had a concept that would be resolved quickly.

With its focus on Los Angeles we see the aftermath of the blackout – devastation and destruction at every turn.  The DVD extras help give an idea of the scale of the operation needed to realise what we see on-screen.  There’s quite a few necessary cheats, but the mixture of live action and CGI was certainly executed well.

No-one has any idea of what happened, and why.  With no obvious reason for it, many see it as something religious or spiritual.  Those with no vision of their future struggle to accept that within six months their time will have come – some even join suicidal cults who take the idea of ‘extreme sports’ to another level!

Whatever it was, those who did see a series of events from their own future, taking place on 29 April 2010 at 10.00pm, also struggle to come to terms with how they will end up where they will be, and for many it’s a mystery as to why they are with the people they are. For some the future will be joyous and hopeful; for others, shockingly unexpected. 

Knowing their fate will alter each person’s life in one way or another, the big question is: can destiny be changed? We soon get the answer to this, through one character’s sacrifice. Up until that point it looked like the future would protect itself by making corrections, regardless of what someone or other would do. However, by changing just one destiny, we are left to consider what effect would that change will have on the life map of others.

This is zooming deep into philosophical territory, and makes you wonder how much our lives are just grooves on an established record; can we really change things? Are we one dimension in terms of what will happen, or can each choice we make allow us to jump to another life path amongst an infinite number, all happening at the same time? Heavy stuff for prime time television, but buried in such a format as that for FlashForward, it can play out and add another level of richness to the viewing experience, if you choose to look more deeply into the ramifications of the plot.

FlashForward stars Joseph Fiennes as Mark Benford, John Cho as Demetri Noh, Jack Davenport as Lloyd Simcoe, Zachary Knighton as Bryce Varley, Peyton List as Nicole Kirby, Dominic Monaghan as Simon, Brían F O'Byrne as Aaron Stark, Courtney B Vance as Stanford Wedeck, Sonya Walger as Olivia Benford and Christine Woods as Janis Hawk.

This DVD release gives all of us puzzled by the series a chance to re-evaluate it, especially those who gave up after the deadly ‘mid-season break’ which lost a stack of the more casual viewers. Once you know where it was going to end up, it makes a repeat viewing experience more enjoyable, as the intricacies of setting up the denouement can be spotted and admired.

The DVD set includes all 22 episodes of the series, plus over 60 minutes of immersive bonus material, which are as follows:

  • “Flashforward On Set” – An inside look behind the scenes of FlashForward, detailing several key story aspects.
  • “Architects Of Destiny” – Taking you through the production of the entire series, from day one of filming to the conclusion.
  • “Meet Yuko” – Follow renowned Japanese actress Yuko Takeuchi as she travels to LA to star in FlashForward – her first western role.
  • “Kangaroo?” – One of the more unusual cameo appearances is for one of Skippy’s relations, who mysteriously turns up in the pilot episode.
  • “Interviews from the Mosaic Collective” – Fictional interviews from across the world that sees people reacting the Flashforward; of course, the real nutter would have to be in London, wouldn’t she (and why is she dressed in bubblewrap???).
  • “Creating a Catastrophe: The Effects Of A Global Blackout” – A behind the scenes look at the freeway disaster from the pilot episode.
  • Bloopers Reel and Deleted Scenes.

Unlike many ‘high concept’ shows, it benefits from us having an ending. Knowing that the production team were able to rejig the final episode to give some sort of closure is a reassurance, although the door is left open should a network any time in the future decide it wanted to pick up the pieces. However, even the most optimistic fan will have to admit that’s unlikely!

FlashForward is out now as a six DVD set with all 22 episodes, a ‘15’ certificate, a running time of 819 minutes approx, and a RRP of £35.99 – or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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